Tuesday, January 26, 2016

School Reform Commission is rigged against Philadelphia schoolchildren

School Reform Commission is rigged against Philadelphia schoolchildren:
School Reform Commission is rigged against Philadelphia schoolchildren

"I have pent-up emotions about the way the district has allowed many of our schools in low-income neighborhoods to fail our students and their families," Sylvia Simms said.


THE PHILADELPHIA School District, a $3 billion enterprise whose job is to educate mostly poor and black children, is a system steeped in racism.
It doesn't matter whether those at the head of the system are black. The game is fixed, the outcome is predetermined, and the children are commodities whose value is measured not in test scores or grades, but in dollars and cents.
To put it bluntly, Philadelphia's education system is an auction block where children of color are sold to the highest bidder. It is a system that Judge Doris Smith Ribner once said was "failing or refusing to provide . . . a quality education to children attending racially isolated minority schools."
I wish I could say Smith-Ribner's statement - made in a 1992 ruling on Philadelphia's segregated schools - was no longer accurate. But I'm convinced that the system is rigged.
Want proof? Look no further than the School Reform Commission, the unelected body that allocates the billions flowing through the district each year. Created in 2001 when the city, under former Mayor John Street, went to the state for money, the SRC was part of a state takeover. From the beginning, the politically run SRC - with two members appointed by the mayor and three by the governor - had a mandate to fund privately run school organizations with public money.
Under the deal brokered by Republican Gov. Mark Schweiker, the mainly black and Latino parents whose children attended Philadelphia's public schools would have absolutely no say over the SRC's decisions. For that matter, no one else would, either.
In the SRC, the district, with its long history of segregated schools, found a new way to underserve black children. By 2009, when the SRC finally voted to end 40 years of desegregation litigation, the white children were mostly gone. The SRC was supposed to fix what was left.
The whole thing was couched in the language of creating alternatives to low-performing schools. Where low performance didn't already exist, the state created Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160126_School_Reform_Commission_is_rigged_against_Philadelphia_schoolchildren.html#uwEpZZM1gML0szDV.99

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